tv Tonight From Washington CSPAN June 28, 2013 8:00pm-11:01pm EDT
good afternoon and welcome to the washington institute. i am the director of the institute and i'm very pleased to welcome all of you to this special policy forum luncheon debate. we don't often do debates and this is a debate among serious people in a serious topic so you won't see the gloves on and the blood flying. but it is an important issue to talk about u.s. policy towards syria. an audience like this and audience watching on c-span knows very well the issues that are at stake, the humanitarian issues that are at stake of course, the political and motels -- military and strategic issues that are at stake and there is a broad national, broad consensus about the urgency of the situation in syria but yet considerable debate about what
the united states should do and what the united states should be leading in order to affect the situation on the ground. we at the institute, the washington institute, have been actively engaged in trying to present a broad range of information to the policymaking community in addition to our speakers today from the institute, andrew i want to draw attention to everyone here into our viewing audience at the washington institute's web site which includes data from first-hand visits to the region by institute staff exhibiting all bordering countries around syria, detailed reports based on these investigations and policy prescriptions. today, we are brought together
two of the most thoughtful and insightful observers of the situation in syria and as much the situation here in washington about syria because today's discussion is really about what america should do vis-à-vis the conflict in syria. and the springboard for today's discussionism article in the current issue of foreign affairs by the counsel on foreign relations by andrew tabler. andrew senior fellow here at the washington institute and author of a book based on his eight years living in syria and the article that andrew has written is titled syria's collapse and how washington intends to stop it. in that article andrew offers both analysis of the situation in syria and a set of very specific prescriptions of what
the united states should do on its own and in concert with partners and allies in order to stop the carnage, stop the violence and bring about a resolution of the conflict. speaking today as well as professor marc lynch. i am happy to welcome marc back to this platform. this is not the first-time marc has spoken at the institute and we are happy to welcome them back. george -- marc is a professor at the -- the prodigious offer of the "abu aardvark" blog and a frequent contributor to foreign policy among many other platforms and if you want to find a coherent alternative about what the united states ought to do vis-à-vis syria then i suggest reviewing a series of
foreign-policy posts by marc. so we have today to very smart, too very well respected and consulting experts. i won't go into the details of the consultations each of them has with senior government officials but suffice it to say that the arguments we will be hearing today very much reflect the arguments that are on the table in front of senior government officials. now of course we have a change in american policy in the last couple of weeks with the president's announcement of the beginning of a direct u.s. military support to lethal weaponry to the armed opposition but i think it still suffices to say that the overall strategy remains unclear. what the objectives are, what they have to be and whether we are bringing to bear the
resources to meet those objectives. and so in that context i think today's debate remains very much timely and very much appropriate. with that i will turn the podium first over to andrew tabler and then over to marc lynch and then over to you for your questions and comments. >> thank you. >> one more word. if i could please ask everyone here to silence or cell phones, turn them off if you can, silence if you must. >> thank you rob for that introduction and thanks to the washington institute and all of my colleagues here and all of their capacities for helping with today's event. thanks to all of you for coming out and particularly thanks to professor marc lynch for accepting the invitation today to discuss an issue that i think both of us believe is a crisis of the first-order and one that we were discussing a little bit
before this began and talking about it behind closed doors for the better part of two years now. that has followed the debate that we have seen inside of the u.s. government or heard about or heard echoes of that, the policymaking about the difficulties in coming up with policy prescriptions to deal with this syrian crisis. and perhaps my list bit of thanks goes to president obama himself for his recent decision to recognize the regime of us are all a shot -- bashar al-assad and as rob mentioned i think we are in an era of policy flux. we don't know all the details and i think that is going to be aware of a lot of the debate is going to be going forward. an article that rob discussed the recent article in foreign affairs about syria's collapse
was based on a recent trip i made with my colleague and good friend jeff weise to the syrian border regions. we were in every syrian border region with the exception of iraq and i think the one thing they came away from that trip and this dovetails with our policy report earlier this year, and one thing that struck me and the theme i think will carry us through a lot of my comments today is that the syria that i lived in for so long and one that i have been writing on for quite some time and one that you know very well the direct interaction or indirect interaction or whatever, is just simply -- not to mention clear metaphors here. quite frankly the crisis generated from that environment now i think is a threat to the regional security architecture and is likely to bring in not
only a lot more the regional powers but many of the greater international powers as well. this offers major challenges for united states going forward. i'm afraid at the beginning of this conflict, not at its end. i can't see how it would end any time soon. it's a very sad truth. the basis of my argument is fairly simple. it's given the trajectories that i see inside of syria which i will explain here and i think were echoed in recent government announcements, it's not a question of if we get involved in syria but when, how and at what cost. important attention has to be paid to outcomes and goals. we might not be able to completely and the syrian crisis. we might be, but by becoming more involved and assertive and measured approach as i approaches i argue i believe we
can shape and outcomes and contain it as much as possible within syria's borders. so my foreign affairs piece i would like to say follows a lot of president obama's recent responses in charlie rose's interview. i'm sure he did not read it and regurgitated to charlie rose. what i want to say here is i think the president outlined clearly what interests were according to the way he saw it. first, there was what he articulated a humanitarian interest. this is the first part of my piece. it talks about the destruction and the death toll in syria. we hit 100,000 killed depending on the numbers just this month in syria. now this is, the number of killed are approximately in bosnia but half the time so as the aid workers in serious say it's a bosnia on steroids. of course this 100,000 marker
and is going to be a war that involves a lot of markers sadly comes around the second anniversary of the second war, the second anniversary of president obama saying resident bashar al-assad had to step aside. the death tolls in syria are worse than the death tolls in iraq and the height of the conflict in 2007. they're there are also considerable regional interests the president outlined and i think this is something that had not really entered the policy considerations previously. marc has been writing about the humanitarian situation and the response based on that argument in based on checking iranian influence. i think now he pointed out very clearly that the out of refugees and the jordan where jeff and i recently spent a lot of time was so massive as well as to other countries which we also visited. those countries were simply unable to handle them and
somehow the previous arguments and policymaking circles that we could deal with the symptoms of this crisis alone and not the disease itself that those arguments were wearing then based on the numbers we saw coming out of syria so those of you that have been there i think have noted who have been to the north it represents the country's fourth-largest city and i would encourage you to go there if you can. talk with people who are running the camp and you can go into the camp but there is little security and it's a wonder it all stays together inside and that's a different matter. so that is another major area of spillover. then the president outlined what he called a direct interest and this was the use of chemical weapons, chemical agents in the situation. various concentrations of sarin according to u.s. government officials. this is also a major concern and one that threatens to take this
crisis and all of the displacement that has been generated from it and to basically supercharge that situation and send people running over the border or into neighboring governance for cover and to stay out of these areas where these chemical agents can be used. that we expect will continue without a check on president assad and trying to deter his escalation in terms of his arsenal. that i think the biggest take away that i had from my trip in the one that a lot of my fellows here at the institute share is that the division of the country into these three general areas that i've outlined, regime controlled area in the west, the sunni-arab controlled area in the center and a provincial areas in the east, in the each one of these areas we see not just u.s. designated terrorist organizations present, we see them as a key part of each
area's ability to go on the offensive not only with each other but politically within those areas. hezbollah recently and they capture from the rebel forces. we see the role of -- both in terms of hard power as well as soft power reaching out to the syrian population and then of course we have the p. y. d., and the local pkk also present in kurdish areas. now why does this all matter to americans? many people have pointed to a number of polls which indicate most americans do not want to intervene inside of syria. there are different responses about what the intervention might look like but generally there's a lot of skepticism for various reasons having to do with the recent iraq our involvement in iraq or afghanistan, finances and so on. i think that the biggest that i
see strategic threat that is emerging out of all of this really took me back to my original discussions with policymakers when i came to washington about five years ago when i had to leave syria. and that is location, location, location. for the first two years of the obama administration we engaged the regime of president bashar al-assad not because they liked him, not because it's the behavior was particularly good, actually it was awful but it was based on the idea that syria was important not only in signing a peace treaty with israel but also because of serious geographic location. it doesn't have a lot of oil. it doesn't export a lot of goods. the people were very friendly and the food they prepared was very good but by and large we didn't have a lot of u.s. interests there. but we have a lot of interest in
the countries that surrounded syria. israel, jordan, iraq where we spent williams of dollars, nato member turkey and lebanon where the u.s. does not necessarily direct interest but a lot of historical interest in the remaining military interest there in very shapes and forms. so i tried to think a little bit about this and i kept on hearing every time they would talk about why those that said we should get more involved in syria would say well look what happened in lebanon. lebanon caught on fire and literally burned down several times for those of you that are from there visiting the country know exactly what i'm talking about. and you know what, in the end it didn't destroy the region. it didn't really threaten things. i think that the analogy that immediately came to mind was that for all the horrific things that happen in lebanon during that time, lebanon is the small roadhouse on the end of the block and i think this is something that everyone here can relate to. the block here's the regional
security architecture. the boundaries that have divided up the middle east for almost 100 years. so, lebanon was stabilized in the sectarian dimension of it was contained by the involvement of the to and row houses israel and a much more stable syria, much different demographics. and it was containable and the lebanese war was eventually brought to a finish and really a settlement that has never really been fully implementimplement ed and was not necessarily successful but has brought relative to each teacher the country and it was very much a situation that's leading them down the middle as it were. the case of syria, serious the row house in the middle of a lot. and the problem with what we see inside of syria is that what happens there does not stay there. it's not like whatever happens
there stays there. the potential for spillover is so great and has accelerated over the last few months whether it's refugees or the involvement of hezbollah. if you would have told me a couple of years ago and my many friends in the audience that andrew in a short period of time you'll watch hezbollah rock at fire and other arab country for an hour from lebanese territory. you've got to be crazy. it's the equivalent of hell freezing over enough have seen over the last few months. those of you that have been tracking hezbollah have have seen it from inside his country. i don't think what has happened in syria will just stay in syria. i think it's less and less containable and that in and of itself threatens not only serious neighbors but the security architecture as well in the region. right now it's refugees in cross-border fire and in the future could be cross
stabilization. the border of jordan comes to mind, seven turkey and it's true things don't often burn down immediately but over time and given we don't have a solution to this crisis and one does not seem to be in the offing, at least an easy one, i think that the potential for this to spread is much greater and i think it then deserves greater u.s. attention. so my prescription is in the paper are ones that i have discussed with marc many times are we have discussed in the meetings we have had either in here outside of government circles and are not unknown to most of you. there are four parts. one is i believe that the first of two all of this is we need to enforce the chemical weapons used deadline with president assad. when you lay down these lines you should enforce them and the
choice of not doing so reverberate out beyond this crisis and will affect how we are perceived in the region and beyond. i think that is a big concern of many of those in the military. most importantly if we don't enforce that red line i think the president has every indication based on the evidence that the president assad has moved up the escalation chain. he is already using chemical weapons and has used service missiles are already third most used against a civilian population in the history of the world. adolf hitler, the bullet regime and afghanistan second and the assad regime. whether it's the enemy or its own population it's there and i think unless we deter him from doing that he will cause more people to run over the borders inside of syria and over the borders to neighboring countries and potentially to destabilize them. second, you think in order to
contain this crisis and the displacement we need to set up safe havens in the syrian border regions. many of you have seen that i've written about this before. this area adjacent to turkey and jordan could be enforced using patriot missile batteries or aircraft flying there. by the way these are not the only options and i say that in the paper. there are many forces of actions that we have discussed over the last year or so. they vary from using patriot missile batteries to more direct action with u.s. aircraft flying over those areas. with more direct u.s. involvement flying over syria the risks of course go up and it's much more expensive. next i believe if we have decided president assad has to go and president assad going as part of the solution we need to be able to work with the opposition in order to achieve that militarily and politically. the reason why i want president assad to go isn't just because
he is a bad guy. the reason why president assad in my opinion has to go is that he lost his chance to reform this country and to deal with the demographic wave that is now for coming that regime. the assad regime has proved very rigid over time. it has been unable to reform a couple of banks and insurance companies which they could not reform and is the name unable to deal with the big elephant in the room here and that is if you notice all the armed fighters, they have black beards and black hair and very little gray and that is because what you are seeing in syria is authoritarian karma. following the massacre of every 1992 there was a massive crackdown as many of you know inside of syria. hard currency dried up. the economy contracted and for
that 10 10 years even arab nationalists and communists were arrested and what happened if everyone just stayed home and had a lot of children. during that period of time and i learned this from -- syria was among the 20 fastest-growing populations in a the world. that is why many people inside of syria were pushing bashar all assad to reform. that system and president assad need to go in order to ring true transition from the tyrannical and rigid form of government to a more updated demographics inside the country. that is true stabilization in my opinion one that will work from the inside out. in order to do that we need to work with us. opposition in border regions in turkey and jordan and beyond as well as perhaps in the future in the areas depending on if they are developed and that caird of
time. there are a lot of details about that in my paper. at the at the end of this i adve diplomacy. i don't think we should throw it away. i think it's something we should always keep open but i don't think at this point and i think the facts bear me out, that will we see in the geneva to process is going to yield anything that will lead to a true transition that would deal with the difficult situation inside that country. what i see in the future and at the end of this is a syria that remains divided into three areas, the regime controlled in the west sunni-arab in the center and the kurds in the east with various borders and many of these areas nonupdate to this -- nonubiquitous. at the end of this process we should try as this conflict unfolds to bring those pieces back together. that is a very distant goal at this point but i think it's worth trying to keep syria together whether it's in --
i don't think in its current form it's possible that something more decentralized and as part of those negotiations perhaps at long last those who are huddled around the regime of might feel more confident and safe behind their lines to have president assad and his immediate family -- and that might give them the guarantees that they would like in the interim so they didn't feel -- that a transition in syria would mean having their heads chopped off and i can understand that here and i can understand the fact that the regime has been pumping it through the media to keep them huddled around this regime. and so instead of starting with diplomacy and without the syrian people and the u.n. security council i think we should start with the syrian people and then and with diplomacy. hopefully the u.n. security council but if not we would have to have some other kind of diplomatic process and for
example switzerland and norway but their number of other actors that might be a list step in and help us negotiate a peaceful and hopefully stable and to this horrific crisis. with that i will conclude and handed over to marc. >> thank you. [applause] >> i would like to thank all of you for coming out here on an extremely hot friday afternoon in the end of june and i would like to thank rob for inviting me back here. he says he doesn't usually hope post-debates but oddly every time i come here and up in the middle of one. i'm not sure what that is exactly and i would have to thank andrew for the hard work has been doing on the syria issue over the last two years. both rob and andrew have alluded to the many many workshops and events and discussions we have been involved with in one of the things that most impressed me about andrew and i think a number of other people you might see around in this room is that they have been focused on trying
to solve robinsons syria instead of having what i think are huddled -- idyll partisan debates in deal with syria as it is and find workable solutions and that is what we all need to be working on. authors don't choose their own titles. as the editor of the middle east channel on foreign-policy.com i get to choose the titles on those articles but on foreign affairs andrews article is entitled syria's collapse and how washington can stop it. i fully and completely agree that syria is collapsing. the state of collapse and the humanitarian horrors and the strategic void everything which he describes i think more or less goes along with my understanding of what is happening in syria with almost no disagreement in our assessment of the strategic situation of the reality with the dangers of the clash clash of the syrian state or of the general forces on the ground. or for that matter the moral and
strategic imperative to ameliorate and solve the problems they are or on the likely reality of the war and a civil war that is going to stretch on for a long time. in other words there is no easy or quick fix to the problems in syria. our disagreement primarily lies in the dash probably without adding permission how washington can stop it. i don't think washington can stop it. i think washington can do some things and i think it has been doing some things that might be able to try some other try some other things that at the end of the day the magnitude of what is happening in syria is well beyond the ability of the united states to control, to shape or decisively and. let me be clear what i mean by this. most of the debate including anders is around a certain set of limits. i can't tell you how many times the last couple of years i heard the words nobody is talking about boots on the ground.
my point is that even with boots on the ground hundred and 50,000 troops occupying damascus we could not stop this. we proved in iraq that all and doesn't mean we can actually solve this problem. we could overthrow assad. we could kill him and destroy his regime but then we have to solve the problem of the clashed clashed status shattered society and they repatriate station of what is left and what has been left behind. i think any serious discussion and i include andrew very much in this category of serious discussion, has to begin for the premise of trying to understand what serious going to look like at the end of this game in the middle of this game as well as right now. and when we talk about only the president would do this and if only he would arm the rebels and
if only he would create a safe area and if only he would mean it when he says assad must go all the problems would be solved. no one in syria believes that answer and we need to understand that our arguments and discussions are taking place at the margins. the strategic situation, the political situation but the magnitude of what is happening in syria as well beyond the ability of any minor fix or even a major fix coming to washington. what that means is that is absolutely and completely true that the president's strategy for syria has not solved the problems in syria. i think part of the strategy has been useful. parts of them have been disastrous. parts of them have simply been good ideas that haven't worked out. it's very clear when you have the situation with 100,000 dead and millions of refugees displaced sectarianism spreading like wildfire throughout the
region is pretty clear that is not a policy you would want to hold up as a success. the problem is that none of the major alternatives are offered. i also hear from senator mccain and others that everything which the critics predicted would happen if we intervene has happened anyway and in some ways that's true. syria is an absolute disaster but we are not embedded that steve bennett quagmire with american troops now caught in the relentless pressure to expand their commitment to go deeper, stay longer, have a surge of troops in certain strategies. people talk like it's a throwaway thing where it's okay it's a slippery slope. now let's get on with things. you can't do that. you think about what happens when step one doesn't work. i think we need to think about the various policies. i think three of the four of what andrew puts ford's and i'm happy with all four except he
didn't quite completely describe number one which was not just conventional weapons but airstrikes tried to take out weapons sites. yeah. any kind of direct american military intervention and then beneath that a whole range of things we can consider. i believe that the current move to openly armed the rebels come soon uncomfortably close to that line but does not cross it and i think that airstrikes, the enforcement of safe areas or the declaration of safe areas with stated or unstated commitment to enforce them crosses that line. once we have crossed that line unless you can give me a clear story by which the con and then i think we are on the slippery slope that leads to exactly -- which is relentless escalation.
once you are in we can say oh that didn't work. those of you that member the raids on -- when it didn't look like it was working to remember the same people argued originally they were never talking about boots on the ground. once you are in that you've got to win it so i think we do need to be extremely kosmas and not just of step one but if step two, three, four and five. let me talk about some of those steps and my general sense of how this is playing out and what i think we can and cannot do. i think generally speaking the argument about arming the rebels which has dominated the debate in washington for quite a while has largely been a red herring, largely irrelevant. i read something over year ago roughly february 2012 where a eyes of this is where we are going to go. why are we going to go there? because of what i said a minute ago. it would be a way of showing we
were doing something without getting directly committed to the military intervention. bureaucratically speaking that is what happens. you can't do nothing. that looks bad. you are definitely have to go all in in so you find something mlb can do which is an accident to solve the problem but it might help a little bit on the margins. it's not surprising it took so long but i don't think it matters very much. there was a point in which it matter. that was roughly between november 2011 and march of 2012 when you were seeing a debate taking place inside the syrian opposition and across the region about whether to shift from a peaceful uprising to a militarized insurgency. that was a serious debate and there were very real reasons at that time to avoid militarization of the conflict. my fear at the time and and of the reason i argued against it at the time and many others in this room did as well as because of the recognition that assad had an extraordinarily difficult time dealing with the nonviolent challenge for moral challenge
where it was a peaceful uprising in the arab spring spirit against the brutal authoritarian regime. it told people inside of syria that there might be a safe useful and that her alternatives to the assad regime and told the minority communities that they might have a few surface -- future and had the opportunity to reach out across sectarian lines and to prevent the spread of this. and fear, the collapse of state and extremely predictable dynamics and demilitarization. assad carrying out unspeakable brutality against the syrian people and use the strategy of brutality in order to push the opposition into a militarized response. in other words i egg helped push them there because he wanted to
fight on the ground, ground where he was much more confident at winning and he was right. i think the militarization has been a disaster for the syrian revolution and almost everything that was predicted by the syrian advocates of nonviolence uprisings have been validated. there are very few fence sitters left in syria. i think serious minority communities are absolutely terrified of the victory is seen as a sunni islamist insurgency and i think we now have a strategic stalemate which is very much at the expense of the syrian people and i see very little possibility of either side, the opposition or assad, reestablishing control or a viable functional syrian state at any time in the future. there'll be at least five years of civil war if and when, whether or if bashar al-assad falls, whether he survives. i simply see militarization has
gone far too far to be overturned at this point. it doesn't mean we shouldn't try and i support most of the things that interest discussing and i will explain why in a moment but the reality is that the transformation from an uprising into an insurgency has been a moral and should you check political disaster, one in which assad thwarted in god and again it rots. to where it is now. that was a year and a half ago when this debate mattered and now it doesn't really matter because it's fully militarized. this is now a multi-sited complex internationalized insurgency in which we are debating about how and the modalities by which we will support insurgency. this is very different from where we were before so i guess what it comes down to now is trying to figure out whether the
kinds of steps that andrew was talking about are likely to help this insurgency not win, that is not necessarily the goal we are waiting for. that is one of the problems that we have been defined or goals, whether supporting that insurgency are more or less like you to produce results that are likely to serve american interests. and to this point those interests have been defined it in my view correctly is trying to line some kind of political transition which preserves what rudimentary functioning of the state remains and find some way to prevent what otherwise needs to be an inevitable cycle of revenge killings, state failure, state rate down i.e. essentially afghanistan 1990 with more somalia which is where it appears we are headed. now, it could need that the steps being discussed here would accomplish that.
and it could be that syria is unique and i think that every case is unique and syria is just as unique as every other case but most political science studies of this kind of external support for insurgencies tell us is that this kind of international support for an insurgency which is usually going for the weaker side and that is why it needs international support, tends to make war longer and bloodier and tends to make it negotiated at the end intends to create exacerbated dynamics of failure and entrenchment of political economies for those benefits that -- ultimately make it less likely that you will have a democratic or stable regime when the war finally ends as most wars do eventually and. now it could be again that syria is different and it will go differently this time.
it will feel more comfortable and it hasn't happened in two and a half years now, if anybody could point me to a single case in the history of the world where such a strategy has worked. if that could happen and it's a gently frustrating to me that we haven't been able to find one and i'm sure in q&a we can talk about some of the examples that immediately pop into your mind. the american war is not going to do it. if you have to go back that far -- the logic of arming the rebels. given everything that i've just said it essentially boils down to, the logic of this is fully adjudicated on the op-ed pages and you all know the basic logic of why we should move towards arming the rebels. recently the logic is if we start arming the syrian rebels a couple of bings will happen. one we will stabilize the battlefield, prevent the rebels from losing and enable them to
basically respond to what many people seem to think is the regime's military advantage. secondly, for those of us including andrew who support an end to the diplomatic endgame we will be more likely to get an acceptable endgame if the rebels are able to bargain in a position of strength. third there is the broad recognition that there are these jihadist groups that are part of the insurgency and they are stronger than the groups that we would like to support, so we give them weapons and they will be stronger than they might be able to weaken the appeal of jihadist and the radicals, peel away some of their supporters and bring them to their side and therefore by arming the opposition we for the battle against assad and weaken the jihadist to alarm us. and then finally this will then give us a greater say, a greater
stake and a greater influence over post-war syria. we will gain the gratitude, the political support and basic he have a role in post-assad's syria after the rebels we have armed have either one or negotiated a transition. this sounds good and i have heard it expressed extremely well by many people including some in this room and i'm simply not convinced that any step in the causal chain or not convinced by any one of them. the argument that the u.s. providing arms can make a significant difference in the strategic equation rests on a couple of assumptions that i don't think you're right. the first is they currently can't get weapons. weapons have been flowing for the last year and a half and the u.s. would be entering into a crowded market of weapons. it is not like it was a year and a half ago where you had first
movers advantage and you could make a strategic qualitative difference through the introduction of weapons. now you become one player in a crowded field of potential armors. so number one ben is yes it will strengthen them if you give them more or better weapons but this is a change on the margins, not a change in type. number two, this would matter the most and this will get to the point. i'm actually going to say something positive again. this would matter the most if and only if we were able to establish a supply-chain for which we were the only supplier of weapons and at least were able to direct the flow of weapons from our allies in the golf in turkey, and jordan etc.. in other words unify the flow of weapons into a unified political opposition which would then have oversight over a unified
military force. on -- none of those conditions apply. we don't agree on the goals with our major allies. the country spend more time competing with each other over influence of the opposition than they do with the construct in a unified strategic plan. the fragmentation and political dysfunction of the opposition is not something over here while the funding of the insurgency is over here. the one causes and supports the other. money flowing in from the turks, money flowing and from the saudi's and now money flowing in from us, all this does is help to increase the fragmentation, separation, internal conflict, internal battle between what is actually a loose amalgam, local militias, vocal forces with fluid memberships and varying degrees of control over different areas.
i think much more of my punchline is that we should be as we have been over the last six months into putting much more effort into the organization and political leadership of the provision of aid to the syrian opposition than thinking certainly providing arms is going to do the trick. but the basic autumn line is that the arming of the rebels has been going on for a long time in a decentralized way and the less we can get control over that we we are simply going to e adding to it rather than qualitatively changing it. number two the assumption that we can radically change this assumed it up provision of arms, assumes that russia iran hezbollah and syria's other external factors are maxed out. in other words they have given everything they can and if we added to the mix we will then shift to create a balanced -- not allen's favorable to the
opposition. or maybe assad simply responds by increasing their aid and having the escalatory ladder. i suppose this is the empirical question but i see no evidence whatsoever that they are. third i simply do not believe that we will drive away jihadism by becoming more involved in the conflict. that is not the lesson of anyplace else in the world. the rest of the world where we are involved the jihadist love being there -- involved there as well. they will be able to use our involvement is a pretty good argument as to why the ones receiving our weapons are not authentic representatives of the syrian people of islam and the sunni jihad against the infidels. in other words the idea that this jihadist to step back and
say gee we had a good run but now the americans are funding the moderate rebel strikes me as exceedingly unlikely. the united states has been deeply and correctly worried that some of these weapons will flow to these jihadist groups and now we are told that the cia has identified the guys and will provide guns to them and those guns will not go to the jihadist. i find this to be ridiculous. insurgencies do insurgencies things. that is what they do. to mask and insurgencies do. the idea that okay there is some bad that most of them are opportunists and fighting because they have better weapons. we have better weapons they will come to our side. a key causal chain is logically insane because once we have
attracted these opportunists to our site with better weapons and now they have those better weapons and the winds shifted and now the jihadist suddenly get more weapons why in the world wouldn't these opportunists switchbacks? what would hold them in place? you would think what might hold them in place would be a strong centralized command and control but we know that does not exist. in other words the idea it's going to somehow marginalize and isolate and remove the jihadist presence in syria is deeply implausible. particularly because the insertion of more guns and moving up the escalatory latter means that the fighting is going to get bloodier. it's going to get nastier. all of the pressures that enter so quickly identified will increase and escalate. there might be some examples out there in the world of people becoming more moderate and less disposed to radical ideas as
conflict increases in the state collapses and the blood flows. i think more likely to radical ideas will become more attractive as the fighting escalates in as the state collapses and accelerates. so i am sure there are some rebels and i hope we can support them but i think we should have no illusions whatsoever that we will have vast influence or control over them or they align with our values or we can place our bets on them and they will then deliver on our behalf. i think that if we give guns to a particular general and then we say we don't like what you did to that local community and we are not going to support you any more they will probably say okay we will get her guns from someplace else now. one of the key ideas i hear now unfortunately and one of the things that has changed is with the change in qatar and even
before that the idea that the saudi's are now taking the lead on this is a good thing, that the saudi's are taking the lead in the organization and arming of the opposition. let me just say and i'm just going to throw this out there that if you're counting on saudi arabia to deliver in anti-sick. and nonislamist opposition, i'm sorry but i can't help you. i don't believe it. i don't believe it. it will be good for duplexing political pressure in washington for a while. it will be pretty good at defecting pressure in the gulf for us to -- by doing what they wants to do. it will give john kerry some chips and diplomacy and temporarily strengthen our proxies relative to others. all of those will be good for a month or so and then we will be right back to where we have been which is then having arguments about when and whether to begin airstrikes and the like.
i think there are useful things we can do it and are outlined many of them. we should be doing much more to build the political opposition and we should be doing much more to channel all the aid through the political leadership of the opposition both military and nonmilitary. we should be doing more although we have been trying to knock heads with our allies and the golf and maybe the arming will give us more leverage over the saudi send others. we should be doing those things but i'm not going to stand up here and promise that this is the magic solution to all of these problems. i think that is a depressing way to end this. [applause] >> great. mark an entry thank you very much. i now have the great pleasure to be the provocateur against both
of your positions and i think it's important -- though i would like to at least begin to focus on the higher strategic level about what the objectives are, rather than the tactical implementation level. so let me ask each of you this question or ask each of you a question. first, andrew. you mentioned in your opening remarks that we have three parts of syria effectively with three different u.s. designated terrorist organizations fighting each other. the question addressed in today's post op-ed is a very good question. isn't this a great lesson, this conflict? three terrorist organizations killing each other? my gosh we will come back in a year or two and there will be fewer terrorists in the world. in the meantime let's protect
the jordanians to protect the turks and let's make sure it doesn't overflow the borders. isn't that a reasonable strategy? and marc on the total other side, my gosh to the iranians are there, the russians are there, hezbollah is all there. are we going to lose? do we really want the iranians to win here? shouldn't the fundamental prime directive to use a "star trek" term be to ensure that the iranians and the hezbollah in the hands don't win and do whatever's necessary to make sure that terrible calamity does not happen? gentleman? >> that is not -- though that is the first time you have asked me this question but it's not the first time i've had this discussion. you know it has certain coldhearted calculus to it,
doesn't it? i mean we have the enemies in the united states who have killed americans or their chemicals have killed americans over the years all fighting each other and does not sound great? well i can i think it gets back to the situation, if that would all work, it all works until it doesn't work and would have been by that is that kind of works until that conflict becomes uncontainable within the current andre said that arena and i think that is what i argue in the piece and i argued earlier. i think it becomes difficult to contain that because what you end up doing is destroying a country you end up destroying people but also actually expanding politically extremism among the three different areas. i don't think that is something that is in our interest.
now making this more dangerous, so they are a danger to our immediate allies and like i said before turkey jordan israel lebanon and iraq that i think making this more dangerous is i don't feel comfortable or safe at all knowing that this kind of rattle with these kinds of groups taking place is centered around an area where we have the largest stock pile of chemical weapons in the middle east. i realize as of now boasts assessments are that they are in regime hands. we can't guarantee that going forward. a lot of these things are loaded into shells and fired from artillery pieces. this is not stuff that they can easily keep under lock and key over time and i think that in itself has a number of downside risks to it. the on the disturbance of the
security architecture you have that. that supercharges it. i think that is a the reason why president obama outlined it as a direct threat but there are a number of ways it is a direct threat. so the other i think, as that conflict stands what i'm really worried about is i think it's perfectly feasible going forward that we could have the boundaries in it du jour place but any de facto sense we will have so many syrians is so many different areas that will become part of the greater syria that so many syrians are talking about the now probably don't want. i think that in itself, d. stabilization of the northern provinces of jordan in itself i think in that area being politically extremist. getting two marks earlier point in it dovetails with andrew's question, guess i say this -- if
not i will say it directly here. in a way and in most ways this is a political operation using military means. we are shaping a rapidly changing environment. so that in and of itself like marc said makes this much much more complicated and hard. now the one thing i would add to that is that of the four steps that i outlined all of these don't have to go and order. we don't have to do all of them at the same time and i think this is one of the challenges. the great challenge i believe that leadership going forward in the region and i guess i learned this lesson from i hate to say it the iranians and watching our adversaries with us is that they are very good at looking at the full dashboard of options and suddenly turning this knob off and turning this one on and throwing the switch on and throwing the switch often they
are very good at that. obviously they don't have public pressure to go up the escalation chain. they say yes we are doing this and in the end they get what they want. oftentimes we get marc locked into a situation where we believe we have to go all in. i don't think that is what is going to win in syria necessarily. it might as certain point. there are a lot of unknowns here but it's going to be much more complicated situation. i will end with this and i totally agree. i was recently in israel doing a senior security intelligence official who i respect very much and as many of you i think no. he said to jeff wyatt and i at the military base at the end of the day when we were all thinking about this crisis, he said this is the most complicated challenge that israel has ever faced. i was sort of taken aback. this is a country that is faced
a lot of challenges. he said i didn't say it was the biggest. i said it was the most complicated and he said we are nowhere close to the end of it. i don't think it's just the united states. i think our allies like israel and the region think along some of those lines as well. >> those are good questions and again i want to emphasize once again it wasn't clear before that actually i agree with a lot of interest recommendations. he does in the article have a good and very useful politics first approach to this with the military actions in support of the political objectives. so i recommend that and i didn't mean to say that you did and others not so much but that's important. i don't agree with your question to enter or to me. i don't believe and let them fight it out.
they are not just killing each other but killing thousands of syrians among all the other things we are talking about and it's also not a zero-sum game. the flypaper idea that you can attract all the bad guys there and kill them is very silly because you are generating just as many, you are exacerbating the radicalization process elsewhere and so it's not like there is a fixed sum or zero-sum. ..
and if you think about it like that or you are looking at, think about it like little kernels a popcorn. yes. some of them might come over and die in syria, but more and more of them are popping all over the region. so the notion on the sunni side that there is a fixed number of these guys you can kill, it's just wrong. on the other side and are we going to let iran when? biscuits to the nub of the strategic goals, this column a road to weeks ago which we have not decided as a government and the policy community, and i think people are really disagreeing. is syria a civil war which needs to be solved, or is it a front in a regional war against iran which needs to be one. these are different things. the steps which might be taken to stop the killing, find a political transition in syria are not the ones that you would take if what you really want to do was to bleed iran and fight
it out and the like. i will think that understanding with that objective is this going to be difficult, and it gets back to the point was making in my comments before which is that i think that -- we don't agree with our allies. the turks would probably prefer to solve this problem because it is threatening to overwhelm their country, at least in the case of jordan. whereas the saudis would be perfectly happy to keep fighting iran to the last-ditch syrian. that is to them perfect sense. what do we think? i think that we have not articulated it. >> okay. let's open the floor to your questions. we will start with tom right here and then go to the far back . when you get the microphone, make sure to identify yourself. >> a fascinating discussion, sort of like the war itself. there will not be a winner here
for a while. this is directed to andrew a similar discussion at a conference in houston. and when you get that far outside the beltway you hear different ways of looking at this kind of thing. one of the speakers presented this argument. the arrangements far from being the so-called security architecture. in fact, an artificial overlay imposed by outsiders that has prevented the inevitable sorting out that ought to have taken place in the 1920's after the collapse of the ottoman empire. then it was held, the colonials prevented it from happening and the cold war prevented it from happening. it is happening now and cannot be prevented. we should step out of the way and with the winner. i take it you don't agree with that. >> i don't agree with that. i think that the reason why i see it as a major concern is because a lot of things have
happened since the boundaries were drawn. i mean, nation's as imperfect as they are often times will build security arrangements, armies were raised. in the case of syria, and that think this is important getting back to my earlier point, they also then bought and produced a large stockpile of chemical weapons in the middle east peace of the breakup of syria itself, to me, i think, threatens a lot of that other architecture. so the downside of this breaking down are, i believe, so great on so many different levels that it would create a political and military chaos that would actually probably lead to that great armageddon -- armageddon more we all probably trying to avoid. and that is the reason why would like to keep it contained within syria. it is pretty straightforward. that might not of the curve.
maybe there will be areas, but the reason why i wrote this article is very clear. that is, i see the meltdown, the troubling of syria as a threat to u.s. interest on a number of levels. i think we are invested in that architecture. it is 100 years old. i think just letting everybody get out of their systems is not twice. we should put constraints on that. we might not be able to control everything. i think you all know, that's just the way it goes when you publish something, but as much as we can try and shape that, i think it's very important for our assets in the region. >> in the far back. >> thank you very much. my name is edward joseph with johns hopkins. i agree with the previous questioner. it is absolutely terrific event. i would like to take up the challenge, if i could, to give
you an example of where armies, insurgents made their decisive difference in bosnia, 1995. actually, beginning 1994. but the army -- and i would underscore the training of both forces were the key determinant, not nato air strikes. actually, it was the improvement in the capacity of the ground forces that made the difference in the ground that brought the serbs to the negotiating table seriously, and that is what made it possible. of course there are many differences. with someone who i am sure you are quite familiar with, she and i have written an article in the national interest that examines the differences between -- and the similarities between bosnia and syria. among them is -- and this is
just to get to andrews point about bosnia on steroids, of course, syria has over five times the population, meaning that you would have to have on the order of five to 600,000 casualties to have the same relative impact that you had in bosnia. of course there are many other differences. my question to andrew is, -- >> were going to have to hold it there. >> can i ask a question? he basically said that intervening would be futile. do you agree? >> stop. [laughter] >> out. >> okay. mark. >> great. okay. bosnia. i'm glad that you mentioned bosnia. did not confuse it with co-ceo like some columnists. yes. you are right. what tipped the balance in
bosnia was the arming of the croatian military in their conventional victory against serbian forces. what did not tip the balance was the creation of safe areas which proved to be unenforceable. air strikes which proved to make very little contribution to the actual resolution of the conflict. it was only the full-scale army and the victory of the croatian army which did the trick. i am not sure who you envision playing the role of the croatian army in this scenario. turks may be. i'm not sure, but it was not the arming of bosnian insurgence. it was the army of a conventional military which then won a conventional military victory. at the end there was the dayton process, in which we then took milosevich and legitimate him and made him a key part of the solution. he only shows up many years later, after kosovo. basically, what it involved was agreeing to the partition of the
country and legitimate the role of the architect of the massacres being willing to wine and dine with the guy and not seek international justice and then basically having that be enforced through major international peacekeeping operations with the acceptance of the overt acceptance of russia and the neighbors. if you're willing to go all the weight and invasion to the role of assad as finding someone to play the role of the croatian army, avoiding international justice and giving him that particular role, i think that is a plausible path, but i am not sure it is the one that most people really have in mind. yes. it is a very good thought experiment, but i'm not sure and as the lessons that some people might think. >> a couple of questions. over here. >> thank you.
a quick question to mark. was the president to precipitous in saying that he must go and pinning himself into a corner? and to andrew, is in geneva did for all practical purposes? >> andrew, what you start? >> okay. arming the rebels. i don't think it's of utile exercise. however, as you noticed, the recent announcement was to arm the supreme military council, which is essentially the armed affiliate's of the syrian opposition coalition. now, that organization was created around the same time secretly off in the wings between saudi arabia. we have a paper that tracks a
little bit of this. overall the snc has many good qualities. a number of defectors, people who i have met. the problem is, in my opinion, given that we have seen the growth of extremism within the opposition ranks, within the s in see are a number of leaders. why is that a problem? i think in two instances, one is they are closer politically in terms of common cause with extremists. and so the weapons that are provided via those channels could very well leaked out. they might not leak out just by those channels. a lot of things happen when you move weapons through a checkpoint. people in lebanon told me that used to work. offloading of weapons is -- exactly. it's a very, very common way. so that is my first. oh, yes.
okay. now, this is also very important and where i take issue with the administration. in my opinion geneva to was dead when the team that was negotiating this in geneva took what was not a bad text and ticket to st. petersburg and change the language that said that all of this has to be agreed to by mutual consent. that think what it did is it seemed like a diplomatic way to get this through, and it was. what it did is it made it unavoidable because you have to get nasa to agree to go himself, which is not going to. you have to get the opposition to agree as well. at the time it was seen as a check by the opposition on the regime's announcements and calculations in this process. i think what it does is gives this process, if we continue with it, gives assad that lease on life and he will continue.
a said this earlier today. we have covered two elections in my life. it was not pleasant. i can tell you. and they were begging me to vote with blood from my thumb. as funny as that was, there is a less than zero chance that anybody else then assad will win if he runs in 2014 or if they oversee the transition. it will take a lot more than that or some american senator that oversees the election. that is why i agree with the administration. a true transition means we move from this group of people over to one that represent the demographic differences in size of the country and those that have changed over time. and getting there is tough. i think that is why geneva is flawed and don't see the meeting happening soon because it seems like the united states and russia are still at odds which would keep it from happening.
>> the president to precipitous? >> yes. there was a huge amount of pressure at the time for the president to come out and take this forceful position that assad must go. i wrote the piece at the time, one of my all-time favorites. the idea that this was a magical incantation and just by saying he would make it so. [laughter] clearly it wasn't. we knew it at the time and it did exactly what the chemical weapons redline did, created a set of expectations which could not be met. i think we all on all sides, convinced me he was not among this group, but most of us i think miscalculated the ability of assad said -- to survive. my calculation was as long as it was a peaceful uprising that assad could not survive because of the moral force of nonviolent protest and what this would do to the syrian middle ground and
that he simply could not survive in that way. once it turned into a military confrontation might estimate of his likely survival went way up. the idea that at the first sign of a nato jet assad would run for the hills clearly was not right. i think that we all, not just the president, got that wrong. i think that assad must go at that stage as a descriptive statement by someone like me, sure. that is a reasonable analytic judgment. as a declared a statement by the president, probably should not have been made. >> tim right here. >> thank you for this terrific discussion. i have a question about chemical weapons in the so-called red line that has allegedly been crossed. you recall, and i'm sure all of us to, the iraqi war. a great deal of evidence presented to congress and the united nations and the public by
the ministration of iraqi weapons of mass destruction in this case we have a declaration by the president. as far as i know we don't have anything presented to congress either classified or unclassified. you have the head of the eu diplomacy saying that their analysis is that the rebels used chemical weapons. so what is the evidence? why hasn't the administration presented it? >> in front. >> this is a good book and to that question. the art of war said know your enemy. know yourself. let's stressed that no yourself. shouldn't we do whatever is necessary. with the american people be willing to support that? doesn't strategy have to be viewed through the prism? what do you think the american people would support? what degree of intervention?
>> i don't know if that is a question to me are not, but in the back. >> hi. i want to get mark and andrew to answer each other. tell us what happened when mission creep happened like marc was wondering about. what happened if the syrian work continues to get out of hand and no-fly zone is not enough? and marc, if you could let us know, answer the main concern of andrew which is what happened when this becomes much more regional. great. >> okay. what do we start from that. this will be the final round of questions. tenement. >> i'm glad you want to ask the question so i don't have to answer his. [laughter] like us said, i expect this to e
a long-term war which is increasingly internationalized and shaping the entire region. no illusions about that. the question about -- tom's question from before, i see the arab states as much more resilient. back when it was at its worst a lot of people thought that something similar would happen and it really didn't. i am shocked in some ways that they are still -- that they have not left yet. think that speaks to something about the resilience and power of that supposedly fragile state structure. interestingly though, and with less than non i actually feel like lebanon and syria are so interrelated that there is a high chance i am surprised there has not been more spillover, more fighting than we have already seen. unfortunately i expect it probably will happen. i think jordan will be okay.
i think for better or for worse they have a long experience with massive flows of refugees, endemic security threats, and there good at handling those things. i am not as worried. i think there will also pretty much be okay. the one that i really am worried about is iraq. they're own issues. going on for a long time. the violence goes up and down. all of that is constant, but the increasing integration between the syrian insurgency and the iraqi sunni insurgency in the clothes a weapon and personnel back and forth is deeply worrying and as introduce a new factor. that is less -- i don't know how responsive to your question at is, but thinking about the spread out, that is where all the main ways in which this may play out, that is the one that worries me the most.
>> it's a good question. the obama administration from my understanding of its internal deliberations, was concerned because of the slam dunk that we had on iraq and the embarrassment that comes from that and the miscalculations that came from that. so we are very cautious about that from the beginning that it wanted to make short periods of the assessments of the united states are shared by the u.s. and french -- france. israel shares that assessment. it might be based on something different. i heard some of what we eventually heard. in order to gather that evidence it was not only based on accounts of what happened, interviews with those inside the country and in a actually -- they were involved in bringing out doctors who were treating those patients, individuals who
had been exposed to those agents and also, i believe, corpses as well. i'm not exactly sure on that last detail. they tested those individuals and those bodies and found that they were exposed to low doses or moderate doses of sarin. so that is the evidence that i know about. there is probably a lot more, given that there were other ways to go about it. that is how they think obama's language. with a high degree of certainty that would be language he used. the fact that this came out of the white house is not insignificant given hell has and that their work to the -- for this slam-dunk to up reoccur. always a good question. what happens. i think what happens there is leaders, and another is a casual thing to say. i am from the same party as the president, but what you do is you look at what happens.
you look at what is happening inside the country. u-turn one not often another on instead of automatically going up the escalation shane. it is hard because you have political opponents pounding you for being a wimp under certain circumstances which is the way democracy oftentimes works. in this particular case given the complexities of it i think the president will have to find a way to navigate all that. the american public is cautious. they are cautious now given the way that they believe it is affecting them and the way it has been articulated. part of it is framing the issues and the risks accordingly so that when an increase in those risks to the country occurs that the american public is ready for it and ready to do what is necessary. right now we don't know what those are. for all of this to go on in the neighborhood where we have 65 percent of the world's oil
reserves and 20% of its gas reserves, i realized, but the risks to those supplies can spread. what i learned -- viagra up in a community where oil was discovered in the 19th century, but the number one lesson we learned in my county was the important part of oil is not the supply but the price. this is the most important thing that's another way that this could affect the everyday americans beyond, for example, the spelling out and affecting our regional allies in a more comprehensive way and in that particular case we would have to respond accordingly. again, i allied that i believe our assertive and measured steps, not aggressive, but assertive and ones that can help shape this conflict positively. >> thank you. i just wanted to echo his last comment.
his question. my own view, i find all of these polls about america's interest in engaging irrelevant in the sense that if the leaders of the united states to not explain to the american people whether it is important, one certainly should not expect others to think it is important. the real paul will be waiting to see if they say it is important. then we can judge. then we may not be. and that, i think, is the end result of this debate. we still don't really know what the overall strategy is, although we have a pretty good, reasonable consensus on what to do even in the absence of a strategy, which is fascinating. so on that note, thank you for joining us today. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
[inaudible conversations] >> on tomorrow's washington journal we will discuss president obama's proposals for addressing climate change. the electric reliability coordinating council >> this sunday american history tv commemorates the 150th anniversary of the battle of gettysburg. >> the 73rd and four other regiments were recruited early in the war to form the excelsior brigade out of new york, principally out of new york city to read this particular regiment was recruited in the fire halls of new york city. the firemen of new york city and to the call to come to do the
into the army as union soldiers. about 300 out here on july 2nd . 46 percent casualties. the dedication ceremony, he said this. there are times in the lives of nations when energetic actions of even a small number of men will arise in others the highest and noblest semblance and spur them on to a sense of duty and a greater degree of the eloquence of even the most gifted orator. >> the 150th anniversary of the battle of gettysburg, live coverage sunday begins at 930 eastern with historians throughout the day including harold holzer. later at 530 we will take your calls and tweets. penn state university professor
carol riordan. the commemorative ceremony with a keynote speaker followed by a candlelight procession to the soldiers national cemetery and we will end the day at 915 with the civil war institute director peter carmichael. you can submit questions and comments to our sunday guests today and it facebook. >> a political movement that encourages used to take responsibility for the country as foreign troops withdraw. members talked about the state of afghanistan that the u.s. institute of peace. this is an hour-and-a-half. >> i think we will go ahead and get going. i am the director of afghanistan and pakistan programs here at the u.s. as to the peace. i would like to thank all of you for coming. i would like to and particularly thank our panelists for coming today. a special thanks to the open
society foundation for helping organize this event and for being responsible for bringing at least two of our panelists to the u.s. to participate in this event. there are lots of doom and gloom stories in the press today. and i think well there is, indeed, a lot to be concerned about, it is important to recognize the tremendous gains that have been achieved in afghanistan over the past decade. i think a lot of those have been achieved by the next generation in afghanistan, and i think it is incumbent upon all of us who are interested and concerned to do our utmost to see what we can do to preserve those. i think that is why it is important to have representatives of that next generation with us here in washington to talk about some of their concerns, hopes for the future, and what they think needs to be done by afghans as
well as the international community to help protect some of the gains and promote those during the coming years. while there is much to be hopeful about, there is, of course, many challenges. facing the next generation. we must dig knowledge those. afghanistan faces an incredible usefulness. an estimated 68 percent of the population is under the age of 25. and that poses tremendous challenges in terms of provision of education, in terms of the provision of health care, provision of employment opportunities. i think especially with afghanistan going through quite a transition during the coming years, including the economic transition, the employment challenges of where this new generation, how it provides been full employment is going to be one of the key challenges that
we might hear a bit more about today. education is going to also be critical. a lot has been achieved. i used to be this save the children director in afghanistan in the 90's. when you hear about all the pessimism, i think it is important to remind us where we were 15 years ago, even 12 years ago. a very, very difficult circumstances. very -- incredible challenges in terms of educating boys and girls in that context an incredible what has been achieved. however, i think we also need to remind ourselves that education can be a force for positive stability and can also be disrupted. i think we need to only go back to the 60's and 70's. it proved to be quite an effective incubator, radical politics on the left and right which contributed significantly to the next three decades of conflict.
in that regard it is quite disturbing that it is not an area i studied in depth. what reports you often do here from university politics is that ethnic politics are a major force in terms of the politics today. again, how we can make education a force for peace rather than a force for conflict. lots of generational tensions. we have a much better educated younger generation today than the older. get power continues to be monopolized. so how that will be worked out in the coming years, including possibly in the next election cycle will be quite interesting to see. afghanistan also faces lots of tremendous urban world divide which has also been a source for conflict. i think that is a divide that the new generation is also going to have to contend with and deal with. i am hoping we might be able to hear more about that today.
also, changing gender relations. this is an area which is understudied. the impact of the communications and media revolution on gender relations. many more women out and the public work force, working in the private sector, public sector, non-profit sector, but the ability for boys and girls and young men and women to communicate through the internet, phone, social media to an extent never before seen, the impact on social relations in gender relations. anyway, i could go on. it is a fascinating topic. i will turn it over to our panelists were truly the experts i'll turn you over to our moderator. director of the regional policy initiative on afghanistan and pakistan at the open society foundation and bring lots of expertise she was an analyst of
human-rights. prior to that she had a career in journalism where she was also covering afghanistan. so with that a turn it over to you. >> thank you. thank you for hosting us today. thank you to our panelists for joining us. a very important discussion. i first went to afghanistan for the bbc and lobbied long and hard to try and go report on something other than the conflict. seven years later and still trying to do the same thing. we have corruption and stories about women victims. this lens is distorting the media and policymakers because there -- panelists are representing. so it is great that we will be able to hear from them, both in terms of how they view the
future and how they think they can tackle the challenges which andrew has alluded to. one of the most encouraging things i have seen has been the emergence of these new civil political movements. one of them is represented here today, afghanistan 1400, the afghan millennium. they have a different calendar year. i want to also recognize another movement called a three, afghanistan analysis and awareness. there are many more. we will touch on some of the use activism we are seeing, but we will start with 1400. to my left, the chair. you have a their bio, so i won't tell you too much just to say she is an incredibly impressive woman. caius set up a business, a consulting firm, and they have been creating a storm on the
helen deasy. we will start with her and move on to a someone at the council. many of you will have seen him here before, been with the sip you for a few months. i know our from our work as a leading activist in still society. and finally, the deputy director for afghanistan counterpart international. so a full picture of the diversity of views and some of their aims and aspirations. but i will start by turning it over. >> thank you. good morning, everyone. i am very honored to be here. i will start by speaking about afghanistan 1400 not only because i represent 1400 but it tells us something of the
transformation and what the future might hold. afghanistan 1400, referring to the new millennium. and the reason we choose to include 1400 in our name is that generally politics in afghanistan is either focused on the past, an ongoing plan game of who did what, when, why or is focused. we want to represent the future of afghanistan and talk about the vision beyond 2014, the west and calendars. our vision for afghanistan and self. that is why we chose the name. i think at the beginning of 1400 the idea has been around for more than two years. the first meeting this happened because of the realization we had new generations have come of age. they have a different vision. more willing to work past their
differences. they have strong political values. it cannot see the current political access. the current political actors, and they can relate to them. thus there has to be a platform to mobilize. to mobilize that position. 1400 is aiming to become the platform. we have in our political stances , all taken with the recognition of the transformation that has happened in afghanistan with an emphasis on democracy, gender equality and the new afghanistan represents. we have a series of activities. i would like to highlight one of two examples to give you a sense of what we do. one of the first that we did even before going public on december 6th, a 2012, even
before one of the first things we did was published posters and put up billboards appreciating our security forces. we want to bring the source of confidence to afghanistan and make internal. for our future and present our security forces play a very important role. so there was an instance, a number of special forces. there was a picture of him. he was continuing to fight. we took that and published it and put posters around town and billboards and started this culture of promoting our security forces. another of our most recent activities, there was an attack in western afghanistan. more than 50 killed. the whole town was impacted by
that. we went up offer sympathies. but also to the send a message of strength and said that this will not go. they won't have any impact. they have to accept the constitution, otherwise they cannot be part of the society and will be treated like enemies. we also, a symbol of the afghan people. two examples. in the meantime we have decided to focus on a few issues that we think important to the present and future. our top issue has been the political transition. as you might know, we have potential consolation to have elections upcoming that will happen on february 5th, 2014, which is a national priority.
we believe if we have a smooth political transition for the first time from one elected leader to another that we will continue. and on that, the work that we do inside afghanistan, we have focused on keeping elections and following with the appropriations and encouraging people to participate because we think that is the main force, particularly the urban population. and we have the attention about what needs to be done, technical preparation and pushing the government to show more political will to make it happen. also, we have literally called on the u.s. congress, media, and the public to pay more attention and make it a priority and not be distracted other processes
that we see as a distraction at this point in don't see them having a key impact on the elections in the future. and here. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. thank you. it is great to be here. when i was younger i was on the other side listening to people. it is great to have one of my former boss is here in the audience. i will be brief. the past three or four days, meeting people with specific messages. our conviction back home, what we are based on and what we brought here is that afghanistan has transformed. our leaders at home as well as our allies are also going to need to start adopting. and that is because increasingly
the concern is getting high and that we saw the solutions being proposed for the future of afghanistan mostly based on a set of assumptions that are rather old and invalid on the ground. many of you are very familiar with afghanistan and transformations the law but if you look at it from a demographic shift, technology, connectivity in general, all of these factors play into a new set of aspirations that have developed. people try to position both their own lives as well as what they expect to happen to them and their families in the future much differently than what it used to be in 2001. frankly, just an anecdote, back in 2001, september 10th, the whole city had only two working phone lines. we had to line up in the morning behind those to get access to at three minute call. today you look at a population
that has 20 million cell phone subscribers, and many of them are connected to the internet. that is impacting build connectivity, exposure to new things, and what people aspire for, but themselves and for the country as a whole. what this is relevant, discussions around afghanistan today, in particular that we sense that the population and much of what the world is trying to offer as the united states forces withdraw are based on assumptions that are fairly old. be it about who they are what they represent, our sense is increasingly, particularly in about three years there has been a major public push back against any attack that they have had or anything, any claims they have made with the geography or the
population. but as we look at this i am sure everyone is familiar with what happened. but what it signified to many is the legitimate edition of terror. the risk of legitimizing terror that for many, in particular, the way it was brought, the way it was managed, the impact that came out as well as the reactions out of washington took us back to pre 2001 to a time when i think everyone is familiar with what they used to represent, and it does not have that in afghanistan anymore. there was a widespread public reaction from political actors, the government. all around one particular message. the return of the television, even if they themselves claimed to have the capability, essentially, is a fantasy.
also, we were working to keep focused on our political transition. president karzai about ten or 12 months from now. we believe that the new government coming with a more fresh set of energy's as well as the new mandates can answer a lot of the concerns about corruption or the challenges that the present to the country, some of which are increasingly starting to normalize. employment is a question that many countries are reveling with as well. so with that in washington and elsewhere are message is simple. please don't let distractions emerge between now and between april 5th, 2014.
let's remain focused on this constitutional process making sure what we are trying to do is mobilize people for greater participation so that the next government has legitimacy and a mandate to move on our challenges. outside we're trying to say is, in particular in the u.s., will we learn is the united states has grown well afghanistan has shrunk. that does not promise output on any. and at this stage at think we're trying to get both the u.s. and our own forces focused on the election of transition and probably on creating that needed stability in terms of the constitutional stability but also around our security forces that work for them in the form of a bilateral security agreement and a commitment from the u.s. so that as we move forward beyond 2014, should the taliban or anyone else like to come except the constitution,
laid down their weapons, there is nothing barring them. we, again, our forces in afghanistan operate with the conviction that the constitutional order established since 2004 is inclusive and brought. it does not bar anybody from participation granted they meet those conditions. thank you. >> thank you. so clearly they are creating their own platform. is it possible for them to get their voices heard? >> thank you. good morning, everyone. i keep telling friends that i wanted the rest of the panel to speak. i very briefly will talk about what i have encountered in the past 20 plus years of my life in
afghanistan. there is no doubt that throughout the history if you look at afghanistan, the opportunities that a given to the afghan youth have never been there before the shortcomings and weaknesses that we see in today's administration, the government in afghanistan, one of the positive aspects was that the opportunity for the youth were enormous. they have been working in different ministries a different levels. one thing that i would like to actually start with this for a very few seconds i would like to give you a scenario. think of me as someone who is actually going to the university , a sole breadwinner of the family. i have no one else to support me. i have to study. at the same time i have to go and help my family. for me at this point of time where i don't have money to pay for the rent to give me to the
university, what is more important? do i have to continue my education? to have to look after my family? to have to join groups who are working for the development of the country? i would love to do all, but i simply don't have time to participate. all i need at this point in time is, i don't want to see any member of my family dying because there is nothing to serve on the table. what is really important here is that youth have come along. we have no doubt about that. we have movements that they're working for the political participation and the current peace and transition processes. if we have to think about several issues which they're facing at the provincial level. if we look at actually be dated
saying that more than 65 percent of the afghan population is used, it is true. our fate will be decided by these used. they are the ones who are taking the charge and responsibility for the lead of this company. however, the mig geordie are still having enormous issues when it comes to the economic development, actually suffering and feeding there of families. the unemployment rate is 35%. that is not a very small figure. say 5%. so what. normally our mind set is such a way that if we said 50 percent that is a big number or equal number, but anything less, okay, that's fine. if you actually put that in numbers, last year out of 37,000 high-school graduates -- sorry,
60,000 high-school graduates, only 27 to 37,000 use naked to universities. what about the rest? that don't have a job. they don't have -- they cannot even get admission to vocational training centers or universities. they simply don't have an account to pay the private universities. these are the issues that we can never close our eyes on, and we have to do something that can access. now, what is the impression? i would not call myself a use, but those who are generally based and they're talking about the issues of their involvement, empowerment, and all that. when you first go to them, the very first thing they say to each other is, there you go. now we have to learn the rapid ruler appraisal from the lower bin network. excuse me for my language. what it really requires is actually how we can empower them
at those levels. they're different groups working. however, there is nothing of a nationwide advocacy. of what we can, it does not meaf you can join our group, let the, but we will never be there to help them to get them a job. it does not require a big chunk of resources. i have been a part of a youth group. we did not except salaries. we were just contributing from the very small amount of income we were getting as a part-time teacher, a computer and structures, and even sometimes literacy teachers. there was enough to bring the forces together. i have to say that the issue of economic a virginities and employment is not actually provided to use no matter how much are going to say that we
are working for this country. it would only work for those who can actually pay the money. if those happen to be the insurgent groups, i think everyone knows what will happen. with that of would like to read -- i hope i don't sound extremely negative, but these are the realities on the ground that we cannot close our eyes and say that everything is beautiful and everything is happening. that's not true. there are people that need us. thousands of schools are closed because the insurgencies are at the provincial level. they want to continue the education. cities of the issues in the fact that we cannot deny. the side involving in the current political process of afghanistan, i think it is extremely important that we have dealt them and give the opportunities that actually are needed in terms of continuing their education, employment opportunities in building their
skills. it does not mean -- probably i am making a very controversial statement. from that years of experience i have in afghanistan and traveling around the country, one of the use, i must say -- my colleagues can disagree, but i found them much more brighter and informed. and i think that does not mean that they cannot speak the english language, come to be at things like this. all they need is a job to feed their families and only then will they be able to continue and work for this government and for this country at the end of the day. thank you. >> thank you very much, hossai wardak. you raised a lot of very important issues. >> thank you. good morning, everyone. i am speaking on my capacity as
an activist at think that she touched on some very important issues and also shared with us some numbers that are worrisome. but in the meantime i think what is happening, there is this growing sense of responsibility. particularly the younger generation. when i -- today when i -- when i see young women working full time during the day and then going to university in the evening, i get hopeful. there was not a single girl allowed to go to school. so that is a change.
around 8 million students are going to school today. it is a dramatic and significant change that this happened afghanistan. of course i don't want to overlook the challenges. they're so bad. will we see now is that afghans, particularly the new generation is starting to take charge, trying to be responsible, that it is their country. they do not want to wait for others to rebuild their country. it would like to take charge and be responsible. and they're taking action. the new generation today is tying their present and future to the country. they think if they don't act, work, there is no future. that is a very good thing.
i talked about the young afghan being more smart. we will really inspire. stays after. we met around 80 people. and the enthusiasm and sense of responsibility has inspired us. so i agree with that. that is a generational transformation that we are seeing in afghanistan unfolding today. i think we need to build on that , supported, and need to have this realistic of plant -- optimistic view that the next generation yesterday thinking and acting beyond the ethnic lines and a looking at that this city as a source of strength and the source of -- also, i was
speaking two days ago in washington here. civil society. and there are talking about how afghan civil society has lacked vision. there are challenges. they're not organic. but just as an example of want to share with you, a current example, you know, a loud and my job. just this week we're preparing for a meeting. and just two days ago or three days ago one of the key organizations that was run by the new generation of young people, we don't want to attend the event and we don't want to support it because they officially started a process and
a meeting with the taliban. we would like to work with anything but the u.s. government because they are negotiating with the taliban who for ten or 15 years committed all sorts of crimes in afghanistan. to me that speaks to at transformation. a civil society that wants what -- wants was making sure they're giving them the money today. there would like ted say we would like to stop getting funding from you because you're talking to the taliban. ..
how much money and power you have. today it's defined by how much what you believe in. that's a chance that is unfooling in afghanistan. and the new generation is -- is leading this change. also, my last -- i know you are looking -- i think we see a new trend in afghanistan. when it comes to -- [inaudible] in addition to political parties, and some of the sort traditional organization we are seeing the emergence of the
civic movement in afghanistan. i'm a founding member, is one of the original -- and tr a lot of movements that is being established in afghanistan. predominantly by afghan youth. they don't want fund. they want to mobilize the new generation to become an influential constituency and turn back afghan -- an international policy. in afghanistan. >> thank you very much. thank you. i would like to go tout you. i have one quick question. you have been talking about to mobilize use. you are basically volunteer organization at 100 as he said. many are volunteers. will is another side to mobilization of use in afghanistan which is well funded, organized? we are talking about groups like
-- [inaudible] can you speak to that and what their level of is with to young people. >> and the university trends. when many people look at afghanistan there's always a perception that often time, there not articulation that ruler, trend impact urban settings and the future of the country. if you look deeper in the past 30 to 40 years in particular, kabul university served as a conflict and mobilization. we are sensing that happening today. not just limited to kabul university. universities around the country in particular. public universities but also private university. with that trend knees to be recognized we have over 75 university established in the country. they are -- [inaudible]
state and public university. the radicalization we have the taliban obviously radical and using terrorists there to -- but in the past twenty years under the protection offered by the constitution, the freedom of expression that the country from media to online activism. there's new groups emerging that are more equipped for a great deal, frankly. but savvy in how they mobilize and attract the younger generation to the radical cause. >> the taliban oftentimes are seen as a force more appealing to a nonurban setting. to people who are isolated from reality as well as muslim majority. but these government forces -- [inaudible] a lot more focused on the urban areas. one thing about afghanistan in general as we are getting a demographic shift we talk about movement to presenters.
the city we grew up was designed for about 300,000 people. was 1 million people today. anybody guesstimate you look at four to six million people living in kabul. in these urban settings we have things like -- [inaudible] mobilizing with radical message and what we're surprised with and calling afghanistan on the date to keep monitoring them as resourcing. they have been able to establish teach are training institute and through that ebbing tend their message -- how we have studied them as a target group of 13 to 20 urban setting. that prevents a serious challenge for the future. when you look at the 60 to 70%. the age of 25 and what i have seen numbers saying that 70% age is 20. medium age being 17. that the date it's --
different idea, and different set of mobilization. there's one voice but there are many others who are throughout trying to advance far more radical causes. >> i see several people with the hand up. scott with the hand up in the back. scott warden. >> thank you very much. [inaudible] i want to ask you a question about elections. one of the things i've heard and observed on the election over time is that you have a strong desire for democracy and hope in elections as a source of change. and at the same time they -- [inaudible] for pricks -- politics and, you know, certain lack of trust in the current politicians. andmenting democracy but not wanting to necessarily engage in the heart of the democratic process.
how do dpircht groups and youth translate their desire for more progressive afghanistan in to actual political power. is that by running as candidates? is that gathering vote block that can persuade existing toll pop tickses. how do you see overcoming the youth for good idea with the people that are actually responsible for implementing them? >> yes. we have -- we also have a challenge -- [inaudible] for the upcoming election. one area we hope many young people will -- candidates as the elections response 1400 itself is thanking a candidate from the front part -- [inaudible] depending on the influence and -- [inaudible] the biggest question of elections and, you know, the
choices between bad and worse. i think our part say -- let [inaudible] let ask people what are you specifically doing for youth and the new generation and the challenge in this case are facing? let ask, we know it's a high standard. they are trying to kind of get our politician used to being accountable and something more to say than ethnic issues. so asking them what is your view on taliban and the peace process? where do you -- [inaudible] i don't understand how do you see the integration. and i agree with the vision that we have in mind. we are, you know, the other -- [inaudible] the issue and the transition difficult time for a woman. we know they have made -- [inaudible] or not there is -- of the taliban.
[inaudible] some of of the radical element that have people talking about what does it mean for minority and youth. the election is the most the most impact on the future of next year. so that said, we have try to to that. on the one hand engage political -- [inaudible] there are no perfect choices, andlet see and watch and see what happened. >> someone who was actually reading the biography and et didding the biography. one of the questions was did you promise to the constituency and trust was the most shocking.
one thing everybody mentioned i'm going to be in support of women. whey are winning is using a -- [inaudible] because of the parliament tear on the ground. so on the actually challenging candidates, member of the who are going to that's not enough. i think we have to do something further. what happens in afghanistan? somebody promised to do something for you and he or she doesn't. they are upset. we go around and talk about that person. she didn't do it for me. we don't have any actual need to talk about it where we are going to question the candidates again. one of the issues which is extremely importanted and happened recently. i was disappointed because i neither heard from civil society or youth group step forward and mention and rate the concern was the elimination of the monitoring aspect from the term of from the prevention counsel members. what prevention counsel members does is collect your voices.
but if they are not able to monitor the government -- [inaudible] we'll have have them if the first place. nobody even thought about one. i think when it comes to election, it's only important that you connect it to -- not only with the individual and the ethnic groups and all of that. but penalty you are connecting to the service delivery by the end of it we should tell people what is the, you know, mechanism they have in place to question the candidate if they do not deliver on the promises? thank you. just a quick point. two things. one, i think we need to prioritize and throughout the thing today the fact that election has to happen is a policy. how much people are engage in it. and how many people are -- [inaudible] through the -- [inaudible] we need make sure election is going to happen and there's no added alternative. it's the only thing that should
happen in afghanistan is -- [inaudible] and must happen. that's the other thing which is important is a -- unlike the privacy election. what i see in the election is a lot of discussion about it. and asking me to look at the -- [inaudible] at least three nights and some seven nights. there's discussion on the election. there's so much discussion. they have been vocal and active and trying to modify and improve the election lot. the political parties are discussing election almost every day. the youth are talking about it. i think that's a good start. fact we are talking about it and looking at the only solution to a stable and afghanistan is a good find.
we need to encourage that discussion and need for that afghan on new generation are playing their part. i think we need international community particularly the american government to also push and support that government in making sure that the election is going to happen. >> thank you. what was the question -- [inaudible] and we'll come back. who had their hand up earlier? >> yeah. this gentleman. the you talk about how -- [inaudible] my focus is education. is somewhere between and 8%. it's so small. t not countable.
basically i don't -- the southeast and in talking to -- [inaudible] in other rural provinces it's similar. and there's lit that is being done. there have been -- even from us. and i see that there 70% of 70% back to taliban, and i wonder if what is going on now is going make it. there going to be two afghanistan or rural, ethnic, and unskilled area and a more educate urban stabilized area.
you know, any kind of remarking on that? >> i think you are raising some key questions. i think one of the time that the number -- [inaudible] in term of literacy and others. one thing we recognize and operate with that assumption is we have a lost generation. so the question of literacy and the question of people's perceptions is also generational. thirty years of war meant one particular generation county have access to educational institutions and others. they play in to the numbers as to who literacy rate and not. if you torp look at numbers for literacy rate of people that come in the past twelve years, and in particular if you look at demographic -- the [inaudible] you see higher numbers.
all across there's access to education. manifest here to deny that has pretty much spread a great deal around the country or urban or nonurbeen urban. in term of the differences, we travel a lot and we operate, but greater connectivity with the people and the nonurban areas, political actors -- we don't sense the articulation that often happens in washington. there's a major tied divide between the urban and nonurban. we think from 35,000 miles of asphalt and road today means greater connectivity between population centering, urban areas, and nonurban media access to raid and television. i think between isolated community living and nonurban settings and bigger cities.
the gap is very much shrinking. now that said, we recognize, again, that the challenge ahead is how do the transarab postally emerge in the cities and urban areas. what is the recognition they are the population center with much higher than any particular geography in the country. how do the trends get further to the nonurban areas? and the whole idea looking at afghanistan again, and along the lines up there as if there are two constituencies or two demographic they doesn't tran late on the ground. thank you. >> it would be wrong to say -- at this point of time we will face the situation. for two reason. i'm not worried that international community is leaving. i'm worried because actually we would lose this generation because they are upset, because they are point -- disappointed and government we
are not able to to provide them services. second is the issue of the budget. let look at the afghanistan budget in general. it's mostly, if we would see 99% funded bit donor. if resources are shrinking, and, yes, we're saying we are connected with the words. media is good. they are wonderful staff. for me, the only means of income is going to be -- [inaudible] at the end of the day. we might to the have -- [inaudible] i think the answer is quite obvious. >> okay. thank you. i've got three -- about five questions waiting. let's ask the second room. in those who didn't get seated here. i'm going get a couple of their questions and come to the other questions here. to all the panelist, somebody who doesn't give their name on the future of afghanistan what unifying vision can make them tran send their ethnic religious
background in walking toward -- an afghan future. is there an identity? i'll get one more. picking up on something they said about the legitimizing terrorism. that's what you refer to as talk of the taliban. as afghan use activists here, what do you suggest can be comp pensive and acceptable solution to end the war in afghanistan an important question that has been asked all week. somebody who wants to take the afghan national identity question? being questions. national identity. one has been -- what we have been trying to do in 1400, and broader, outside that. that culture and cultural and culture circles and i'm -- [inaudible] publish journal. there is a disenchantment with
-- [inaudible] as well as mobilizing -- [inaudible] increasing a corporation that we like each other not we have to live in the country together. we have to make it work. that's our to co is. that's where the -- many people have realized have come -- many young people have -- [inaudible] we may not like some people. with may not like the way they speak or dress. they are part of afghanistan. we have to -- [inaudible] and impact afghanistan from [inaudible] all of afghanistan young people will be influenced by that impact. their life will be influenced by that. that's the starting point. in term of it, some of the things that have been -- we have been doing is creating some --
associated. associate some images that -- one of the things that we see as a gathering point in the past ten years a national gain. a national achievement. and we -- [inaudible] we take the opportunity. so afghans will send their daughter to the cool. school. they were funded by international community. it was one parent who decided to send had his daughter to school. something that wasn't imaginable a decade ago. the national transformation is considered as a starting point are for us. another thing that helps with national unity is envisioning a shared future. something we are political actors in the past -- [inaudible] the political future of the communities and opposition to the political future of either communities. we are -- [inaudible] political future they can live
together, and participate in procedure and elect the government. can access to education, can have access to employment, can have access to media and freedom of expression. that has created a lot of -- [inaudible] that can new national matter of the discussion. >> the question of -- [inaudible] what -- many times not -- [inaudible] the past couple of dais. the way we look at the question we had about twelve years of investment in a constitutional order. there's a demographic shift. at this stage i think it's coming up. one we need not distract ourself or allies from that. by any other program with taliban anywhere else. second, i think we can negotiate the talk with the taliban or any other party part of the violence
psych physical we have some -- [inaudible] about the future. and achieved through a credible election as well as agreement with the united states on the future of his commitment and afghanistan. one we have the two basic in place, i think the question of what will the taliban do or what their region will like them to do will become much more clear. i think again, the institutional election saying in particular people until the region often do designs hard to position the proxy. that's how we approach it. in term of -- [inaudible] one thing that needs to be recognized is working on this in general there's no such thing as prolonged constituency. the term means there's overwhelming con acceptable us is around it. we need it. it's about how do you get and what delivers it? what creates the division and further polarization of the society and even the resort of
-- [inaudible] we think a process that is somewhere both a nontransparency is -- i hate to use the word wishy washy. i think people are presenting taliban violence [inaudible] some of them don't quite offer an option. but also it makes creates confidence and international structure as well as in the process. particularly bank account the confidence and political circle in afghanistan the fact -- part of the chatter is on the u.n. sanction list. and to ask the question here is about the intent of institutions. it's about how did they make it there. and what is --
[inaudible] in general we are looking at again with the skepticism and things as such distract from it. and making sure the institutional order passes. it's broad enough the taliban denounce violence. they are most -- [inaudible] some are event operating -- [inaudible] it's good. [inaudible] you mention the the importance the bilateral security agreement between the afghanistan and u.s. make long-term commitment. you also had the tokyo agreement which gives long-term funding commitment. much of that is in place. on the question of talks, i think part of thinking in the u.s., if we don't have somebody from government on the panel. it might be the best point to try to reach a deal while still
troops -- thousand of people lose their lives every year. you basically say, i'm sorry, it will have to continue until a point comes when the taliban are a political movement and ready to negotiate. >> i think if we look at the numbers how the taliban operate or what tactics they use look at ied and suicide bombers. that's much of what they have not -- territory or any other mobilized armed force on a front line. that's gone. that's from the past from the old days. much of what they do is six to seven people coming in 2008 -- at this stage, i don't understand when you talk who are you talking with?
you -- [inaudible] and the monster in this broader sort of net, what is disqengted from it the people coming on media or somewhere bridge that pretending or claiming they represent. we had them to twice. we had the shop keeper come to the palace and pay $60 ,000 and go back brought in by people who claim they knew that the particular shop keeper presented the taliban and had peace to offer. so we are extremely cautious on it. it's not about prolonging war. we tend to think that is about reducing violence and violence could be reduced by greater reinforcement. one thing that the taliban are waking up to on a daily basis sis when they try to have an attack in kabul or elsewhere.
back in the days they would a terror attack, it would be about the strength. how they -- there's a shift in the narrative . the responses is particularly impressive. you look back at the series of more -- what they have tried to project as spectacular started in january of 2010, all the way to this week [inaudible] on the palace. and looking at the significant i did crease and how many howevers -- bombay [inaudible] i'll briefly point numbers and
we can close it. in january 2010 there was attack on the -- [inaudible] took the armed forces about twenty hours. april 2011, attack in kabul, and a hotel and significantly diplomatly, 16 hours demobilize them. fast forward about ten day ago, attack on six to eight suicide bombers going to have gate of the pal lace. no casualty for the security force. ninety minutes to counter them. you see a series of change how the security forces are projecting themselves and the confidence that why i have a
question up here. >> coming back to the issue of the political transition and you come back -- it's the top priority. president karzi's manifesto. the maltly the current contact individuals are still are very important. in that context, i guess whether there is scope for being a bit more am wish in term of a serious of youth movement and a new generation --
[inaudible] in the election. ting could -- or even -- definition of youth you get over it. given the demographic and, you know, the high number of voters in this new generation including as you have seen in past election. many children voting in the election. i think there's a potential power there. i think skeptics could say the people vote it's going to be -- you need to be war lord. you need to be a commander. you need ethnic backing, proxy backing. whatever is successful. if you actually go back to 2005, parliament -- the favorite candidate to do well who basically ran a gym and
very few people heard it before. she was the largest largest winner in the province. there could be a scope for a new paradigm for electropolitic. especially when there's consistent of disallusion. are starting to take a bit more ambitionly. >> i think that's -- [inaudible] something else it's not finalized yet. so september is -- nominations and i agree with you. that manufacturers influence voting.
t not the same as people -- [inaudible] the triable leader as easily as they did in the past elections. >> actually, one thing i would add on is that it's fine, you know, not have a leader or representativation of the time of election. i think what the -- they do is i know they have a concern of not associating themselves with a certain candidate. beginning his or her political background, issues and all of that. i think one thing you can do, i think that would make history is to young bring the leader together and talk and tell them they have to come up with a consensus. one thing that should be clear. they're not going win independently. no way to that. somebody may want it. not everybody can do. i think that will encourage youth dwrown say you can -- [inaudible] everybody is getting together and working together. that would encourage you then, you know, tackle the issue of
the ethnic distribution. i'm afraid it would take very little to put everything apart. >> and we have a jentd gentleman -- and i'm coming to you. >> thank you, my name is -- [inaudible] from voices america. sobering assessment of the youth who feel disfranchised and dissatisfied and implied. i wanted to ask the kind of escaped is especially those from 1400 who elite and influential. how can they create a platform so that the franchise army of youth could have a say in the
sedged is about the -- [inaudible] happening in afghanistan at different level among youths. those who are not educate and those who doesn't have a job and doesn't have the money to travel to europe or the u.s. they go to pakistan and india or join the front lines on the oh -- other side because of the taliban and the money they need. those who are educate they constantly try to travel and go to europe or u.s. of the pessimism and -- that surround the political and future of afghanistan. both together. just -- [inaudible]
ab the progress as well. something that should be given in the international community there. and, you know, your priority of the presidential election actually -- stole my question. but there's been [inaudible] manufacturers. in 2009 there was one. of course, not by the candidate you said. there's one here as well. now if there is good candidates, you mentioned that i think there are goods, credible candidates to come. will the support and work -- [inaudible]
a quick comment on the negotiation discussion. i think, you know, in afghanistan, you know, in the west -- i was in the a few years ago and when the attack happened in the west, let's say washington, london, dubai, anywhere else. they -- the government the security forces try to arrest the terrorist and punish them. in afghanistan when it happens and due to the, you know, the not strong commitment of the international community on the negotiation. you know, we -- [inaudible] it's like anywhere from the world with the terrorist attacks. you don't need negotiate. you have to banish them so they have to respect you. that's the issue we have with
-- future percent of the country. on the -- on us being -- i think from the trip we have made so far, to [inaudible] we have had individually and different provitamins, i think the method we gave at almost all the people that emerged find themselves -- find themselves real -- they look at us as the solution. they look at the group like that. and another movement as a new -- providing [inaudible] for afghan youth beyond the ethnic lines or the lines that are -- [inaudible] to the country. that are also, you know, --
[inaudible conversations] >> a question for -- [inaudible conversations] >> sure. quickly. the first question, i think generally the way we operate we have a structure. eventually it will be district level based and right now we only activated several -- aand the point here is -- kabul in many ways is a -- especially -- youth are coming in there. it offers opportunity to the group reach back to the provinces. that's how we operate them. and the question. the special election. i think a lot of factors will come in to the analysis.
the. candidates and -- [inaudible] get announced represents a more promising future. absolutely. we're not naive to think it's an all clean ticket and what the level -- and electability is very crucial. we haven't had discussions there's only so much of that. we are thinking electability at the station be prioritized and the election. to show that they could save somebody the 5% electability 5 or it 10%. the difference between 5 45 and 51. we are looking at that. in term of generally again from the political actors the discourse and the discussions with them is get out of shell. come out of the back door deal. the whole -- in many ways the surge of something called the national consensus or the national agreement is wasting time.
wasting time the real job has to happen at very, very in many ways the microdirect level mobilization. create energy around the political process and the strong signal to the taliban that also get the youth people who feel in many ways disfranchised by the past twelve years or haven't been involved in many processes. we believe that the past twelve years the achievement of the fed has touched lives across the board. the people of middle class, but the political process offers the opportunity to get them energized and involved and the politicians especially the people at the top that look at forming them do a much better doing of getting out and approaching the public. >> thank you. it's nice to see david here. until recently, the deputy assistant secretary of defense. >> i don't have to identify myself now. thank you.
>> two questions. first a couple of days ago -- [inaudible] published an essay on the brookings constitution's website. it had a lot of -- it was afghanistan, india, pakistan. it was strong in characterizing the taliban insurgency it's getting a lot of attention and reprinted and replayed here in the u.s. and the u.k. sop my question for the 1400 people is how much representation do you have in 1400 you mentioned the cities. how about kandahar? i understand -- i'm talking about broadly not just individuals. do you have connections in kandahar? and finally, if you do, you might -- [inaudible] you might consider making a comment on the brookings
constitution if you want to encounter that. the u.s. government is a very firm belief on many people it is really just about questions and nonquestions. [inaudible] a question. ab excellent point about economic and my question there is recognizing the need for jobs and the youth population what role were youth themselves playing in the economic situation in afghanistan in term of entrepreneurial activity. starting their own businesses. try to address the economic problems that you rightly highlight. thank you. >> just on the question of 1400. we have our strongest can -- kandahar one of our founders flew in for the weekly meetings. he was at the time -- and he would --
from kandahar he would fly in weekly and he wouldn't misone meeting from 1400 meetings. and he has been sent on launch pushing us to visit as soon as we can. we are planning to go and visit kandahar and the provinces. there seems to be a lot of interest in it. an overwhelming number of applications. >> i think the author of that article self-explain assumption. they came to kabul, some of us met with them. very restricted mobility and -- [inaudible] and i think to base that sort of an exposure to the country and make a statement about what the taliban represent or what they don't represent is -- [inaudible] that's where we come in with the message we need a new set of politic. it's not about which is represented. i think the biggest victim of the taliban have been --
[inaudible] i also think that the biggest resistance to them, should they be reimposed on us or come from kandahar and will come from the -- [inaudible] and elsewhere. one thing we need to notice in particular is that the past twelve years has create the a new set of influences in the geography. that often people very easily and out of convenience associate what some level of taliban [inaudible] they have emerged as businessmen or community influencers. we can discuss even names from province to kandahar. and no way are open to having a -- [inaudible] associated come back and run the affair with the life. i think he will admit needs to be questioned on this. people need to ask about where
in fact the sources come. [inaudible] >> one thing i would add in term of the very first question you asked, i think the worry we know where it come from. having it only and using it and dwrown get to the community and all of that. i think what youth can do in afghanistan, which will tackle the issue is to have a cross-border relationship with youth across the border. so you can no longer talk about the politicians and it's not only politicians. stienls politics isn't going to fix the problem. we know what they have been doing to us. i think it will be more important how can we connect youth with on the other side of the border and talk to them and say it's not a question issue. it's actually an issue which is effecting us. they want a question saying how can we increase a sense of nationalism in afghanistan. neighbors are doing a lot in afghanistan in term of destroying things. that's one thing that they actually to raise the ceiling of
nationalism. that, you know, the issue that we are facing is no longer because there's a politician or the president is not working well. but because we are receiving threat. i think they are doing that. one recent, you know, incident which happened was that one of the border -- [inaudible] there was a fight between the where the pakistani force. one of the national army officer was killed. and i think you know the people who first demonstrated against pakistan. i have my own version saying we shouldn't go to demonstration. i think the first voice came actually from the area. it was hill mount can clearly pass on the message. why the idea is there because when it comes to talk to the other side of the border, it's always the issue are actually weighing in there. can we get au group from the north talk to them to the other end and talk to them. to say we have no problem.
it could be one of the issues and to wonder, you know, such issues will come up if they make it to the news that is there and one of the reality which are coming. when it goes to the issue of employment for youth. first of all, i think we have to look at the current issue. if we have 3700 high speed graduates that cannot make it. can we agree they are getting to an constitution where they are able to continue the education be it -- or formal higher education level. operate issue is actually a quick visit with the -- [inaudible] everybody wants actually to be [inaudible] they want to do something. how to start it. how to sustain it. how how to get it out of the house. that's the question. they don't know what to do with it. they are project based and not planned for a long-term. that's where the issue comes in. ting should be a part of the training to say that we are not
going to raise, you funding and that and start a business. how you have to run it. i have a bro chiewr off the economic development center for university. they have been doing a very nice job, one of the afghan women got around 75 contracts international contracts. so i think it's always equipped them with the right skills. as for them to get in the market outside of afghanistan. i can talk for hours on that. another issue that have here how can we get the youth together? one find solid reason and solution for that, i think i would be a genius. how far we can move on to connect with a group which is based based in kabul. how can we connect them? why do we have 100 and -- [inaudible] why don't we just have one group there could be difference. that's fine. whether it goes to issue of
celebrating the victory of our security force, there was three different celebrations in afghanistan. 1400 separately, on the other end, my colleagues with the other -- [inaudible] we have money, we could manage to get it. let celebrate together. we were not able to do that. these are the facts that we cannot unit say we are existing. we are element out of time. i'm going invite them to have a quick question here.
[inaudible] and so first of all, one of the things i encountered i was surprised it was -- [inaudible] i went a group to cover an event. and one of the things i encountered other youth groups i haven't heard of. there are groups called youth in action. they were -- it's mainly in eastern afghanistan. term of celebrating together. that's true. there are so many groups. you have -- [inaudible] there is sort of concern about -- and they the concern is not to establish a is education. so then taking computers over to the villages and the mosque.
they are fighting back the taliban with education. except those who have a strong ethnic component the majority of the groups even if they may be celebrating events separately. -- [inaudible] and that's what matters post 2014. i'm interested in the general thought on the process. but more specifically i want to ask if a process would take place. what factor need to be a part of the process to be acceptable to the afghan people, to civil society, and for it to be seen
as consistent with international democratic standards and democratic principle afforded by the constitution. >> that's a big question. you have two minutes for it. >> our remarks here but even we make the noise around the discussion back home. that doesn't get -- [inaudible] and not essentially inflate it. we get people with 3% change or 1% chance going again people who have chances who are visibly about 20 to 25%. if they can form coalition and produce three or four powerful tickets that energy the political space frankly to pull out -- we are all for that. what we're not for and cautioning is one that time not be wasted behind closed door. we are running in to that
election is approaching people need to be hear about -- [inaudible] people need to hear personalities do absolutely matter. what we are stressing is don't engineer a big tent and hold an election that may supposedly legitimize that decision made. that's our caution. what we encourage is meet together -- and go out in public and energy. that's where our choices. and become easier as we look at it. in the system, i think one constituency that will suffer the most and be left out is the new generation. the quite --
everybody be happy. so again, [inaudible] thank you very much. if we didn't run out of time. i think we can run on much longer. i hope you can recalibrate your thinking on the future. what we need to do to protect the gain they are doing now. so join me in thanking, please. [applause] sunday american history tv on c-span 3. commemorating the 150th anniversary of the battle of gettysburg and the past wednesday senator an gus king from senator from maine spoke. >> we know next thursday, a week from tomorrow, is our nation's
most important anniversary. the first day of the country. but tuesday, july, 2nd, is also one of our most important anniversaries. because july 1, 2, 3rd are the cares that the battle of gettysburg occurred. probably the defining event in the history of the country. and it's especially important this year because it's the 150th anniversary of the battle of gettysburg. and what i'd like to do is share just a few moments about one particular aspect of that battle, but it does indeed involve maine and alabama. and it involves a man from maine named joshua lawrence chamberlain. he was a professor in maine. wasn't a soldier, had no history in the military but decided he had a vision of america and wanted to serve his country. he joined a volunteer regular
min organized in maine called the 20th maine regimen. they came down the east coast, up the plateau blank to washington and deployed. the bloodest day in american history. they were held in reserve. they saw action over the course of fall in early winter at the battle of fredericks berg, then along with two great armies, they headed north in to the state of pennsylvania. okay. mr. president you have to bear with my skims here. but it's helpful, i think, if we can see what happened. it's easy to draw virginia because it's a big triangle. this is the maryland and pennsylvania border. in the early summer of 1863 two
great armies snaked north out of virginia. lee's army of northern virginia came up the west side of the foothills of the appalachians in to pennsylvania, shadows by amaze -- meads' army. both 90,000 men. lee was leading the way to pennsylvania without a particular destination but a desire to engage the federal army in one battle he thought correctly could have ended the civil war. nobody knows exactly why on july 1st of 1863 those two armies collided in the little down of gettysburg. there was a rumor there was a shoe factory there. and the southern army were going reck with a suggestion the shoe. for whatever reason they met if a little town of pennsylvania and one of the interesting things about the battle was that lee's army had already almost
and then a long line to the self along an area, and all place where they bury people. of course that is seminary ridge on the other side, the confederates -- and interestingly enough, throughout american history, red markers represent the confederates and blew the federates. the confederates ended up on all long rays that went down in this way with about a mile apart over here was a place where they trained people to be preachers. that, of course, is a cemetery rage. so generations of sixth graders have been seminary rage over here, cemetery ridge year. they have been confused by this. it is a cemetery where the union and seminary where the confederates. about the middle of the second day of the battle, the union